There are frankly more SUVs now on the road than ever before, so why do we need another one from Mercedes-Benz? We’re here to find out with their recently-launched 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB200 Progressive Line model, the base variant in the GLB series. Its boxy nature is what got us intrigued when the very first SUV came out, and what the GLB200 offers now is simply ‘more than enough’ to get the job done in a brilliant manner.
Priced at just under the RM270,000 mark (RM269,118 excluding insurance), it’s actually built on the same platform as the brand’s A-class offering, but the GLB200 is actually a seven-seater SUV. That combination might seem ludicrous for some, but what it’s able to deliver during our days driving it around town was actually pleasantly nice.
Starting with the looks, the GLB200 (along with the rest of the GLB series) offers the classic ‘boxy’ SUV that’s quite refreshing to see nowadays. Considering the fact that a lot of SUVs today are getting sleeker and smoother in terms of design, a boxy-looking SUV is indeed a pulling factor for the GLB200. Mercedes-Benz is one of the few manufacturers in the world that can pull this off brilliantly.
Sure, it’s more subdued compared to the GLB250 AMG Line or the GLB35 4Matic, which are much sportier in nature, but there’s a certain factor that draws us a little bit closer to the GLB200 the longer we look at it (especially that dual-slat grille). This beauty just looks like a proper SUV, and that’s something Mercedes-Benz can be very proud of, especially in this day and age.
The only two things that are slightly amiss with the GLB200 are its 18-inch five-spoke wheel design and side mirrors. These wheels might look good on certain cars, but they just look a bit dated and boring for this particular SUV from Mercedes-Benz. The side mirrors? Also okay if they’re on the A-class models, but maybe slightly too small for the GLB200. A set of boxier ones should blend well with the rest of the car, wouldn’t you agree?
Step inside the cabin and you’ll quickly notice how familiar everything looks like in the A-class. You’ll get the double 10.25-inch displays and turbine-style aircon vents which are definitely a crowd-pulling combo that blends well with the rest of the interior that presents a spacious and comfortable travelling space.
There are seven seats in total where the third and final row can accommodate to passengers up to 168cm, but they’re more than enough for young children to travel in comfort. We also love the fact that there are four ISOFIX points on the second and third-row seats, which offers a choice of arrangements when travelling with kids and luggage.
Being a family man with three kids myself, I can choose the ‘normal’ setup where the youngest two can use their children's car seats on both ends of the second row, while the oldest can plop herself comfortably in the middle.
Need to ferry more adults? Those two children's car seats can be moved comfortably to the third row without having to worry about safety as they can be mounted on the ISOFIX points at the back. What about weirdly long items from places like IKEA? Also very doable as the children's car seat positions can be moved on one side of the car (one in the second row, one in the third row, both safely mounted on ISOFIX points). The seating arrangement for the GLB200 is definitely a huge plus point in our books.
Moving on to driving, its 1.3-litre turbocharged four-banger might seem a bit tiny when you look at the size of the GLB200, but we can assure you that it’s more than enough to get the job done without too much strain. 161hp and 250Nm of torque are adequately available for a decent acceleration from the traffic light (even when fully loaded) and hitting highway speeds are comfortably achieved.
Handling is also tuned for superior comfort with minor body rolls and optimum absorption of all the imperfections on the road. Steering might be a little on the light side for some, but it’s a darling to use especially when you’re navigating through tight spots like a shopping mall parking lot. Very good turning radius, too. No complaints here.
At the end of the day, if what you’re looking for is something that looks like a proper SUV and functional for you, comfortable for the family, and you want a brand that is known to be luxurious, but you don’t want to break the bank with the GLE or GLS, the GLB200 might just tick all the boxes in terms of comfort and space.
It’s also quite fun to drive. Who would’ve thought? For 270,000 ringgit, the GLB200 is definitely a surprise winner in our books.